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Former Landstuhl commander slated for Army's top medical job in Europe

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Col. John M. Cho, a cardiothoracic surgeon and former commander of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, is slated to head the Army’s top medical post in Europe, the Pentagon has announced.

Cho, already selected for promotion to brigadier general, will take over as top officer for Europe Regional Medical Command and command surgeon for U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army from Col. Jeffrey B. Clark, a family medicine physician who has held the postings since last year.

Also selected for promotion to one-star, Clark is expected to pin on his new rank July 1 and transfer command July 30 before heading off to command Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., according to an ERMC spokesman.

The change of command will mark the second time the two men have succeeded each other in Europe; Clark assumed command of Landstuhl from Cho in 2011.

And Germany should prove familiar territory for Cho, who spent two years running Landstuhl before taking charge of the 30th Medical Command in Heidelberg in 2011. That unit has since relocated to Sembach, the same base ERMC planted its flag last month.

Cho, now the deputy chief of staff for operations at U.S. Army Medical Command and assistant surgeon general for force management, also served in Iraq with the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital — now the 212th Combat Support Hospital — based in Miesau, Germany, according to his biography.

Cho’s 30th MEDCOM and Landstuhl postings provided him “with immense experience” in Army medicine and with NATO partner nations, Shane Sharp, a spokesman for the command, said in an email. “This local experience and the relationships he has in Europe will serve him well as ERMC commander.”

Clark, meanwhile, will venture into uncharted territory at Walter Reed, also known as the “president’s hospital.”

The original Walter Reed, an Army medical center in Silver Spring, Md., shut down in 2011 and its operations consolidated with the Navy’s National Naval Medical Center in nearby Bethesda, Md. The former Navy medical center was renamed the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

While Walter Reed boasts both an Army and a Navy history, the facility in Bethesda has only ever been under Navy command, according to officials. Clark, who according to his command biography has served in Europe, the Pacific, the U.S. and the Middle East, will be the first Army officer to take its helm, officials said.

millham.matthew@stripes.com

Twitter: @mattmillham

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